Battle of Breitenfeld (1642)
The Second Battle of Breitenfeld, also known as the First Battle of Leipzig (23 October 1642), took place at Breitenfeld (some 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) north-east of Leipzig), Germany, during the Thirty Years' War. The battle was a decisive victory for the Swedish army under the command of Field Marshal Lennart Torstenson over an Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire under the command of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria and his deputy, Prince-General Ottavio Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi.
In this second clash between ideologies for the prized Saxony city of Leipzig, the Protestant allied forces, led by Torstenson, defeated an army of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Leopold and his deputy, Prince-General Piccolomini.
Like the first battle the second was a decisive victory for Swedish led forces in their intervention in the Thirty Years' War on behalf of various Protestant "Princes" of the generally small German states against the German Catholic League formed to stamp out Protestantism in Central Europe.
The Imperial army suffered 15,000 casualties, where of 5,000 were taken prisoner. Forty-six guns were also seized. 4,000 Swedes were killed or wounded; among them, General Torsten Stålhandske, who led the Finnish Hakkapeliitta Cavalry, received a serious wound.
The battle, following a brief mop-up campaign ending with the Battle of Klingenthal, enabled Sweden to occupy Saxony. His defeat made Emperor Ferdinand III more willing to negotiate peace, and renounce the Preliminary of Hamburg.
During the battle Colonel Madlon's cavalry regiment fled from the fight. It was followed by the massive fleeing of other cavalry units, which caused the final turn in the battle. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm assembled a court-martial in Prague which decided that the Madlon regiment was to be decimated. 90 men (chosen by rolling dice) were executed in Rokycany, Czech Republic on December 14th 1642 by Jan Mydlář jr., the son of Jan Mydlář, famous executioner from Prague. On the first day of the execution the regiment's cords and battle banners were broken by the executioner. On the second day, the chosen men were hanged on the trees on the road from Rokycany to Litohlavy. Another version said that the officers were beheaded and soldiers shot down. Their mass grave is said to be on the place of Black mound in Rokycany, which commemorates the decimation to this day.
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